East Asian officials believe the answer is no:
The overwhelming assessment by Asian officials, diplomats and analysts is that the U.S. military simply cannot defeat China. It has been an assessment relayed to U.S. government officials over the past few months by countries such as Australia, Japan and South Korea. This comes as President Bush wraps up a visit to Asia, in which he sought to strengthen U.S. ties with key allies in the region.
Most Asian officials have expressed their views privately. Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara has gone public, warning that the United States would lose any war with China.
"In any case, if tension between the United States and China heightens, if each side pulls the trigger, though it may not be stretched to nuclear weapons, and the wider hostilities expand, I believe America cannot win as it has a civic society that must adhere to the value of respecting lives," Mr. Ishihara said in an address to the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.
This could have wide ranging effects, chiefly that if nations such as Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and even Russia feel this to be the case, they may choose to cozy up to China more than they do now. In Japan's case, they may be more apprehensive due to past atrocities visited on China during WWII.
China will move on Taiwan in the next twenty years if not sooner. What will our response be?
The Chinese read our media and see how the media is sketchy on Iraq. They know that we as a nation would never stomach the 100,000+ dead soldiers that would be required to dislodge them if they launched a massive attack on the island.
This may well be the biggest issue to come out of the Iraq war, if we are fighting amongst ourselves over 2,000 dead heroes, we will never, ever be able to fight a protracted war against a nation that is a billion strong with nukes.
The Chinese have major investment in the US, but they also have money coming from Asia and Europe. If they chose to attack, they would prepare their economy for the short yet severe hit they'd take. The US on the other hand would be cold-cocked and our economy would suffer a major setback that would plunge us at least in to a recession.
China is a nuclear superpower. They are quickly surpassing the world's major nations and will challenge us as the superpower. We would have several options; fight over Taiwan where it will begin, or abandon some of our most staunch allies and become isolationists.
I fear we no longer have the spine for the former and will default to the latter.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
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Posted by Scott at 9:55 PM